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The Huron-Wendat Nation, Ignace-Nicolas Vincent Tsawenhohi and the Old Wendake Historic District


Credit: Musée de civilisation, Séminaire de Québec collection. Nicholas Vincent Isawanhonhi. Charles Hullmandel according to Edward Chatfield. Ca 1825. Irda Labrie Perspective, photographer. No 1993.24906
 

In 1996, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) recognized the national historic importance of the scattering of the Huron-Wendat and their final settlement at Jeune-Lorette around 1697.

In the early 17th century, the Hurons (who called themselves Wendats, or "island dwellers") lived in the Great Lakes region. There they formed a nation comprising 20 to 25 villages, where they practised farming, hunting and fishing. Located at a crossroads of trade routes, the Wendats became indispensable middlemen in the fur trade and the main suppliers to the French. Their strategic position was coveted by other Iroquois groups. Over more than 10 years the Iroquois, supported by the Dutch, tried to disrupt trade and expand their fur supply sources. Finally defeated in 1650, the Huron-Wendat dispersed. One group took refuge at Québec City, and in 1697 it at last settled on what would become Old Wendake.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has also recognized other contributions of this Wendat community to Canada's history. In 1999, it designated Old Wendake a historic district, and in 2000 it designated Grand Chief Ignace-Nicolas Vincent Tsawenhohi (1769–1844) a person of national historic importance. Serving as Grand Chief from 1811 to 1844, Tsawenhohi ("he who sees clearly") was a respected politician and a renowned diplomat who asserted the territorial rights of his nation. He was appreciated for his deeds as well as his knowledge of Aboriginal law, customs and tradition. His legacy to his community was a strong sense of pride.